Adverbial Clauses of Concession

The most important depiction of this type of adverbial clauses one can find in the works of professor Rayevskaya. The clauses of concession with all their grammatical complexity and variety of syntactic patterning as well as their synsemantic character, described in her investigations, will engage the attention next.

The component grammatical meanings in sentence-patterns of this kind are often not so clear-cut as it might be suggested.

It is very important to distinguish between the following types of concessive sub-clauses:

a) clauses giving the information about the circumstances despite or against which what is said in the principal clause is carried out. For example:

When the doors hissed open, they turned right and walked together towards William`s room, even though Pascale`s room lay in the opposite direction. [2, p.43]

Though she did not know it, he had stolen her heart that night. [8, p.18]

b) clauses which give some additional information associated with the content of the principal clause, the idea of concession in such patterns is somewhat weakened. For example:

Although she wanted nothing except to huddle on the pine needles and go to sleep, she set up the faw of branches again, then crawled in behind them. [7, p.152]

c) clauses with overlapping relationship. In patterns of this type there is a suggestion of the secondary adversative meaning. Example:

He extracted great happiness from squelching her, and she squelched easily these days, though it had been different in the first years of their married life. [7, p.16]

Complex sentences of this kind are on the borderline between subordination and coordination; though might be easily replaced by the adversative conjunction but. [8, p.275-277]

d) inserted and parenthetical concessive clauses are more or less independent syntactic units and are generally set off by a comma, colon or semi-colon, for example:

Harry, though still rather small and skinny for his age, had grown a few inches over the last year. [5, p.2]

Plump little Mrs. Weasley; tail, balding Mr. Weasley; six sons; and one daughter, all (though the black-and-white picture didn’t show it) with flaming-red hair. [5, p.67]

Though still severely shaken by the night’s events, he was happy to tell anyone who asked what had happened, with a wealth of detail. [5, p.98]

The conjunction though may introduce independent sentences. Examples:

Though Harry had by no means forgotten about Black. [5, p.81]

I never fancied broiling fowls; – though once broiled indiciously buttered, and judgematically salted and peppered, there is no one who will speak more respectfully , not to say reverentially, of a broiled fowl than I will. [5, p.23]

It will be observed, that concessive relations are, in point of fact, logically associated with causal and resultative meaning, the latter being to some extent inseparably present in any sub-clause of this type. [3, Internet sources]

The implication of pure concession is fairly prominent in prepositive sub-clauses included by although, though (often intensified by nevertheless in the principal clause). Examples:

Although Slytherin had been narrowly defeated by Hufflepuff in their last match, Gryffindor were not daring to hope for victory. [4, p.507]

Clauses of concession introduced by though and even though have much in common with sub-clauses introduced by if and even if. For example:

The breaking of a twig echoed loudly and the tiniest rustle of movement, even though it might have been made by an innocent sparrow, caused Harry to peer through the gloom for a culprit. [4, p.510]

In sentences introduced by the conjunction as there is sometimes a fairly prominent suggestion of causal relations. For example:

Uncommunicative as he was, some time passed before we managed to communicate. [7, p.78]

Concessive clauses may be introduced by the phrasal conjunction for all that, for example:

For all that Hermione had said about study and homework groups being allowed, he had the distinct feeling that this one might be considered a lot more rebellious. [4, p.255]

A special type of complex sentences is presented by patterns with concessive sub-clauses suggestive of the secondary alternative meaning. Here belong clauses introduced by however, whoever, whatever, whenever, wherever and such phrasal conjunctions as no matter what, no matter how. [5, Internet sources] Examples are:

Whatever Snape said, Legilimency sounded like mind-reading to Harry. [4, p.393]

These were solid, practical, hard-bitten, land-holding German peasants, who struck their mattocks into the earth deep and held fast wherever they were, because to them life and the land were one indivisible thing; but never in any wise did they confuse nationality with habitation. [1, p.117]

The secondary alternative meaning in clauses of this kind is so prominent that some grammarians are inclined to identify them as a special type of subordination. Such is, for instance, Jespersen’s point of view in Essentials of English Grammar where these clauses are classified as “clauses of indifference”.

Mention must also be made of reduced sub-clauses of concession that ‘are not infrequent both in informal spoken English and literary prose. For example:

The situation, though hopeful and miserable, let the girl think about something dream-like. [7, p.83]

Concessive relations overlapping with alternative meaning find their linguistic expression in syntactic patterns with functional transpositions of the Imperative Mood forms. [1, Internet sources] An example is:

Study as he would, he didn`t succeed in his grades. [8, p.96]

Adverbial clauses of condition

Conditional clauses are the most complicated and variegated among the clauses expressing the meaning of causality. They are introduced by such conjunctions as “if”, “unless”, “provided”, “supposing” and sometimes by the phrase “in case”. Sometimes they may be asyndetical (with inversion). [7, p.129] For example:

Had I come with her, she wouldn`t have been lost. [7, p.24]

An essential peculiarity of conditional clauses, or, it should be rather said, of conditional sentences (including both the main and the subordinate clause), is the use of verbal forms. [6, Internet sources]

Here the actual meaning of a verbal form depends entirely on the syntactical context: it may acquire a meaning which it would never have outside this context.

According to professors` Gordon and Krylova`s point of view the classification of conditional sentences is familiar enough. The main types mentioned in their researches can be observed in such three sentences:

If we can get to the bicycles, we shall beat him.

If they could derive advantage from betraying you, betray you they would…

If you had been arguing about a football match I should have been ready to take a more lenient view of the case…[5, p.306]

There may, however, also be other types, with the action of the subordinate clause belonging to the past and its consequence to the present, for example:

If she hadn`t done it, she would join us now. [7, p.47]

Subordinate clauses can also, like some types of clauses, get emancipated and become independent sentences expressing wish. From a sentence like

If I had known this in advance I should have done everything to help. [3, p.97]

the conditional clause may be separated and become an independent exclamatory sentence: If I had known this in advance!

In addition, professor Ilyish mentions some synonymic alternatives of conditional clauses:

  1. a) Infinitival Nominals:

To have found out about it would have given him some chances to act. [5, p.28]

(Syn. If he had found out… it would have given him…).

  1. b) Gerundial Nominals:

But for his having helped us we should not have been succeeded in this match. [5, p.65]

  1. c) Participial Nominals:

Living with the Dursleys, he felt miserable. [5, p.102]

Conditional sentences can express either a real condition (“open condition”) or an unreal condition, which will be observed next.

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